Holy Hotness Chili

Friday, October 19, 2012

For some reason, I didn't take any pictures of the chili?
For a brief period of time, my sister and now-brother-in-law lived with my husband and I.  Eli, my brother-in-law, likes to walk on the wild side eat on the spicy side.  Therefore, during their stay here, I challenged myself a time or two to make spicier dishes, including spicy (delicious) chicken tacos.  I only remember making chili once, maybe twice, while they lived here and it never was quite up to par with Eli's spicy requirements.

Fate would have it, the eve of their departure, I was tempted to make chili.  Ironically, jalapenos are extremely cheap at my local grocery store.  Unfortunately, everything else is outrageously high.  Tempted by the low price tag, I purchased four jalapenos.  Thus begins the story of the Holy Hotness Chili.

Estimated Prep & Cook Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients & Supplies

  • 1lb Hamburger
  • 15 oz Hormel Chili
  • 4 Jalapenos
  • Canned Mushrooms
  • 64oz Tomato Juice
  • Light and Dark Kidney Beans
  • Canned Diced Tomatoes
  • Skillet, spatula, soup ladle, pot

How To

  1. Brown hamburger in skillet.
  2. While browning hamburger, remove the stems from jalapenos and puree in blender.  Adding a little bit of tomato juice to the blender helped this process, for me.
  3. In pot, combine all ingredients.  This can be done before, during, and/or after browning hamburger.  The only purpose is to heat all the other ingredients.
I served mine with cornbread, as chili is about the only meal I make cornbread with.

Too Hot for You?

 Turns out, this chili was much different than I anticipated.  This was a learning experience.  I realized, while I loved the hot spiciness all the jalapenos added, I very much dislike the actual flavor of the jalapenos.  Solution?  Sour cream!  It was, actually, very delicious.  I added between 2 and 3 tablespoons of sour cream to my chili and it was the perfect dish!  This is great to know if your family has some that like it very hot and some that prefer a more mild dish.  Thanks to my google research,  I also learned that adding sugar, lemon juice, lime juice, dairy products, and several other ingredients can have the same effect.  Of course, taste will vary depending on which ingredient you decide to add.  For me, sour cream was the perfect choice!

This left lots of leftovers which I have been slowly consuming over the past few days, along with my sour cream.  It's just as good, if not better, the second (or third, or fourth) time around.

Peanut Butter Fudge

Thursday, October 18, 2012

 This was only my second time making peanut butter fudge.  Let me tell you, it was a much better experience than the first time I made it.  That might be due to the fact that, this time, I had an actual recipe.  Last time, my husband's grandmother gave me her verbal, vague version.  "Some peanut butter", I pretty sure was one of the things she told me.  Well, unfortunately for me, I wasn't able to figure out how much was "some" and my it ended up tasting more like straight peanut butter than fudge.  BUT now I can successfully make peanut butter fudge. 

I'm usually reluctant to try recipes I've had bad experiences with.  I tend to avoid them until I just have to make them.  In this case, I was dying for something sweet and quick.  I ended up making peanut butter fudge and no bake cookies. 
Estimated Prep & Cook Time:  15 minutes
Cool for an hour or so.

Ingredients & Supplies
  •  Pot
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla (optional/replaceable)
  • Baking pan or a plate to cool fudge
How To
  1. Combine sugar and milk in a pan and bring to a boil.
  2. Hold boil for 2.5 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter.
  4. Pour mix into greased pan and wait for it to cool.
It turned out great!  I'm going to try and reduce the sugar by about a 1/2 cup the next time I make it because it was just a tad sweeter than I'd like it.  Also, I used about a 1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter and 1/2 cup creamy.  I'm very proud of the results and will continue to make fudge as a quick, sweet craving quencher!

Biscuit Pizza

Friday, October 12, 2012

Please excuse the poor quality.  Taken with my iPad.

Today I made what I have dubbed as the Biscuit Pizza.  I saw the recipe over at Mom Spotted, and knew I had to try it!  I wanted to try and combine her recipe and this Spooky Ghost Pizza I found.  However, I didn't have any fresh, sliced Mozzarella for the ghosts.  So, no spooky pizza for us.

I turned down dining out tonight because I was really looking forward to trying the recipe (don't worry, my hubby and I just rescheduled our dinner out for tomorrow evening).  I have tried, in the past, to make homemade pizza, and even homemade pizza rolls.  Neither were very good.  They took so much time and then there was little to no payoff.  Needless to say, my experience making homemade pizza-anything has been a disaster and not very encouraging for future endeavors.

I am so glad I decided to go for it and try this recipe!  My only regret was that I should have used the second can of pizza sauce I purchased.  I like my pizza extra saucy, but I honestly wasn't expecting the biscuit crust to be so successful.  I really hope that this pizza can help to save many more pizza-deficient cooks, like myself!

 Estimated Prep & Cook Time: ~1 hour

Ingredients & Supplies
  • Baking pan of choice
  • Skillet
  • 1 to 2 Cans Pizza Sauce
  • 1lb Hamburger
  • Refrigerated biscuits (not the flaky kind!)
  • 8oz shredded cheese, any kind
  • Pepperonis
  • Fresh Mushrooms
  • Other pizza toppings of choice

How To
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Brown hamburger in skillet
  3. While hamburger is browning, open biscuits and place into baking pan
  4. When hamburger has finished browning, mix with pizza sauce
  5. You can mix in your pepperonis now or add them later.  It doesn't matter.
  6. Spread mixture over biscuits.
  7. Add cheese on top of that and pop into the oven.
  8. Cook in the oven for about 30 minutes.  I set my time for 28 minutes.  You don't want to pull early and have soggy, biscuit crust.  Leave in for this long to ensure your biscuits don't become soggy.
  9. Take out, cut, eat.  Enjoy!

Tater Tot Casserole

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

So, the other day I was feeling very unmotivated when it came to dinner. On most nights like this one, I quickly whip up spaghetti or macaroni and tuna or something just as quick and easy. My sister, however, brilliantly suggested we make Tater Tot Casserole. Simple, easy, classic, right? True on all counts. Except, would you believe that I had no idea how to make it. Yes, yes, I could've guessed and surely figured it out, right? Well, not only do I prefer to stay on the safe side, but it tends to bit me in the rear when I don't. I'm definitely no super chef. I grew up on pork steak and goolosh, so I didn't know much about anything else before I had a family of my own...or how great other food (and cooking it) could be!

Well, believe it or not, I only had about half the ingredients. I don't keep tater tots on hand and I don't like to keep sour cream around very long. After going through the trouble of looking up a recipe and realizing how delicious it sounded, I was having this dinner, regardless. So, I did what I hate to do... I drove to the grocery store in town and bought the tater tots and sour cream. Surely, they were a little overpriced, but still affordable enough where I didn't cringe too much at the register. I despise shopping more frequently than my weekly trip, where our weekly food budget is typically spent. However, I had to have Tater Tot Casserole. That was all there was to it. I'm happy to say that it turned out fantastic! Everyone loved it, including my picky self. It was delicious! The only thing I'll do different next time is I won't use Velveeta Shredded Cheddar Cheese. It's very sharp, very dry. It's hard to melt, as well. It's a very poor choice for melting on thing, like my baked spaghetti or on lasagna. On to the recipe! Which is probably the same as 100 others, but I had to look one up, so maybe you need to, as well?

Estimated Prep & Cook Time: ~1 hour

Ingredients & Supplies
  • Bag of Tater Tots, any brand will do
  • 8oz+ Shredded Cheese of choice
  • Cream of Mushroom
  • Sour Cream
  • 1-2lb Hamburger
  • Pan to fry hamburger
  • Baking dish
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Brown hamburger in skillet.
  3. Mix hamburger, sour cream, and cream of mushroom in bottom of baking dish.
  4. Top burger mix with tater tots.
  5. Top tater tots with shredded cheese.
  6. Pop into oven until cheese is melted & tater tots are done.
Tip: I sliced up some Velveeta block cheese (yum!) and put the slices between my burger mix and my tater tots for an extra cheesy, delicious casserole.

Rainbow Chicken Alfredo

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Rainbow Chick AlfredoSo today I thought I'd try out a "recipe" that popped up on my Facebook newsfeed a few days ago (see here). That recipe looked like it'd be a ton of fun. That and I really wanted to listen to my husband moan (like he usually does) about the effect food coloring has on his and the little one's poop. Unfortunately for me, my husband decided not to complain this time around. However, I did get some pretty fun-looking chicken Alfredo for dinner.
Estimated Prep & Cook Time: ~1 hour
  • 1lb. Egg or Fettuccine Noodles
  • Food Coloring
  • Plastic Bags
  • 3 to 6 Frozen Chicken Breasts
  • 1 Jar Alfredo Sauce
  • Mushrooms (Optional)
  • Seasonings of Choice
(Technically this could be done with any pasta, including spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, etc.)

 How to Make Rainbow Chicken Alfredo
  1. Put choice amount of chicken breasts into microwave on defrost setting. I use the bags of frozen chicken breasts from Wal Mart, but use whatever kind you like. We're not trying to thaw them entirely, because meat is easier to cut when it is still partially frozen. Therefore, it doesn't really matter how long you put them in there.
  2. Put water on the stove on high until it boils. Add pasta. Cook pasta to desired consistency. The original recipe says al dente which means squat to me. I even googled it, but whatever.
  3. Remove chicken breasts from the microwave when they have softened a bit. Cut however you like. I just slice/square them randomly. I'm not picky. Then add to pan and season to liking. I cook 'til browned a little on each side.
  4. While chicken and noodles are cooking, put about 20 to 25 drops of food coloring into each bag. I had my six and two year-old help me with this part. Also, I used 8 colors, so you may need more food coloring with less colors. Set bags aside until noodles are cooked to your liking.
  5. When your noodles are done, put them in the strainer and run cold water over them to cool them down. Portion however you like into the plastic baggies. Zip them up and shake/mix well. My six year-old enjoyed this part most. If you let your little one help you, you may want to help them spread the coloring a little more than they do themselves.
  6. When finished, rinse each color individually in the strainer and add to the pot as you go. I heated my Alfredo sauce in the pan with the chicken once it was finished and also mixed in a can of mushroom pieces. Mix together and presto!
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